WINNIPEG – Probably no one was more excited about his debut performance than Winnipeg Blue Bombers Canadian running back Johnny Augustine.
“I’m speechless. Honestly there’s a lot of mics in my face right now,” Augustine said immediately following their pre-season win over the Edmonton Eskimos.
Augustine, 24, finished their exhibition opener with a game high 81 yards rushing, which included an 18 yard touchdown scamper for the Welland, Ont. native.
But it’s a far cry from the feelings of disappointment Augustine felt when he was completely passed over in the 2017 CFL Draft, despite being one of the top 20 ranked prospects.
“Very disappointed, not gonna lie. It’s pretty obvious,” Augustine said. “It was a very tough time in my life, but you know what, I bounced back the next day and I found myself training for it. It’s something that happened, but it’s forgotten with. It’s one of those things, it’s how you handle it and to me, I said ‘I can’t sit on it, I just got to wait for the opportunity’ and here I am in Winnipeg.”
After a failed tryout with the Eskimos last year, Augustine returned to the University of Guelph for his senior season and credits his discipline to more than a decade of martial arts, only picking up football while he was in middle school.
“I’ve been hooked ever since,” he said. “Here I am, what eight, nine years later. Time flies.”
So has training camp and with Andrew Harris and Kienan LaFrance ahead of him on the Canadian running back depth chart, he’s going to need another strong showing in their final exhibition game on Friday to prove he’s worthy of a roster spot.
“I’m really focused on B.C. because I’m still trying to fight for a spot,” Augustine said. “I want to still show them that I am one of the better players on the team and I can help them win.”
We’ll see if the coaching staff agrees when the final cuts are announced on the weekend.
WATCH: Johnny Augustine Highlights vs Edmonton Eskimos